Let’s imagine for a moment that we are on the bus, returning from work, in the company of a colleague of ours when, all of a sudden, the bus stops in the middle of the road. After several unsuccessful attempts, the driver warns the passengers. Nothing to do, the vehicle is broken, you have to wait for the next bus. We are both tired, we’ve been working all day and can’t wait to go home. We react with nervousness, we begin to think that they all happen to us, to complain and write a long text message like the shopping list in which we list our partner all the misfortunes of the day to warn her of our delay. On the other hand he, our colleague, who bursts into laughter, calls his partner to warn her of the delay and tells her, amused the episode. We look at it as an alien. How does he react like that? Surely, we think, he has an easier life than ours. Or maybe not, maybe he sees the glass half full!
The metaphor of the glass half full or half empty describes a global attitude towards life which, in general, is characterized by the prevalence of negativity over positivity (or vice versa) and which affects the levels of well-being, happiness, and personal satisfaction.
Those who see the glass always half empty tend to focus on the negative aspects of situations, to focus attention on what is missing rather than on what is there, and to think or fantasize, more or less consciously, the existence of an ideal world and perfect in which others lead a more satisfying, happier, more serene life. Simply a life with something extra that cannot be accessed due to force majeure. This translates into the tendency to react to unforeseen events and difficulties with negative emotions that are disproportionate to the extent of the obstacle on which, inevitably, we run into in everyday life, to complain about our condition and for everything that deviates. from one’s expectations, to regret a better past that will never come back and/or to live in anticipation of a later when things will settle down, then regularly marred by something that is not going the right way. What does not change is the profound basic dissatisfaction that permeates the present and that tends to persist even when there is nothing around us that can justify it.
Typically, this state of mind derives from irrational pathogenic beliefs that are formed in childhood in an attempt to cope with traumatic relational experiences in which we thought that being happier, satisfied, serene, and fulfilled than someone important to us was a danger, and it is supported by (unconscious) identifications with permanently unhappy, depressed, dissatisfied and/or pessimistic reference figures.
Contacting a psychologist can help you understand why you, unlike that colleague, always see the glass half empty and why, no matter how hard you try, you never manage to fill it.